Final air quality decision leaves Rubbertown residents, leaders disappointed

Disappointment lingers in Rubbertown

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- “Do black lives and poor lives in West Louisville not matter?” Councilwoman Mary Wooldridge asked.

“Yes, I'm very disappointed,” said Rodriquez Harris, Rubbertown resident.

A final decision has come from Louisville Air Pollution Control District after months of public hearings and rallies.

“We just really expected more. At least I did,” said Councilwoman Jessica Green, District 1.

The District approved one part and denied another part of American Synthetic Rubber Company's application for permit modification. So, what does that mean? The company emits cancer-causing toxins from their stacks and also in the form of leaks. The district's decision says while ASRC will continue to lower their emissions from leaks, they've done everything they can do and still can't meet the very low current regulations. So, they approved a modification.

“We've had great reductions but we've had one company that is unable to meet all of the goals.  We will continue to work with them to reach those goals,” said Keith Talley Sr., Louisville Air Pollution Control District.

A statement from ASRC says in part, "ASRC respects the District's decision, and we will continue our efforts to reduce actual emissions every day."

Rubbertown residents say they'll be watching.

“This is a chance for these chemical plants to show, you know, show off your stuff with new technology, bring in the best minds to test out safer chemicals. This is their moment to show that they can keep us safe and have a business that runs well,” said Eboni Cochran, Rubbertown activist.

Mayor Fischer has also shared his disappointment with the decision. He said, "This decision is the most stringent ruling that the district can issue today under the current law. However, this determination does not end the requirements for ASRC to continue the pursuit to reduce emissions even more, especially as technology improves and allows for even further reductions."

Both sides of the decision have 30 days to appeal the decision.  An ASRC spokesperson says they do not plan to appeal but Councilwoman Jessica Green says they are exploring their options and plan to appeal.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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